Hope Now

Friday

What are you hoping for today?

“Wait, Israel, for GOD. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭131:3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Hope now.

Right now.

While you wait.

While you are stuck.

Open wide your heart and let hope flood in.

Let it wash over your mind and fill your spirit to the brim.

There is no better day than today.

There is no a better time than right now.

No matter what is going on around you, hope is available to you.

Jesus died on the cross, took the punishment of sin, and rose again to eternal life.

He is alive.  He is working.  He is saving.  He is holding out eternal hope to you.

Don’t procrastinate hope, you have permission to hope now – no matter what.

 

You Are Not Rejected

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There are other moments of rejection that give you soul scars. Moments that become memories that hide in the silence and shadows of your heart. They feed into the fears of “not worthy” and enable the core insecurities of “not enough”.

God’s Word brings light to the shadows and His voice to the silent places in your heart.

Jesus came to bring to completion the Word spoken in Isaiah:

“For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:9,10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus came to complete it,
to reclaim you,
to reconcile you to God,
has chosen you,
pursued you,
paid for you,
cherishes you,
will not abandon you.

Whispers of rejection will remind you of past rejections. They will taint every relationship and interaction you have.

You fear rejection but Jesus came to empty that word of its crippling power.

He is the God who says to you:

“I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” (NIV‬‬ version)

“I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic. I’m with you.” ‭‭‬ ‭(MSG‬‬ version)

“You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you;” (‭NKJV‬‬ version)

Jesus will whisper this truth to you every day, in every way He can until you will believe it, embrace it and live in it.

YOU ARE HIS.
YOU ARE CHOSEN.

Reread if necessary.

A Quiet Heart

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Living in a loud world requires cultivating a quiet heart.

You may be focusing on your to-do list but God is focused on tending to your heart.

“In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Just as an untended garden grows wild and will produce good things as well as life-threatening weeds, it is the same with your heart.

Your heart needs to be tended to on a daily basis.

New things NEED to be planted, old things NEED to be pruned.

However, you are not the gardener of your heart, God is.

Your heart is the soil.

As you invite Jesus in, He waters your soul. As you spend time with Him, the Holy Spirit pulls weeds. As you trust the Father, He plants seeds of faith.

It is a partnership but one that is different than you are used to.

Your most important job is to give God time, opportunity and full access to do His work in your heart.

A quiet, secure heart is of great value to those closest to you and the loud, insecure world around you.

Shut the world out and invite Jesus in today to do some landscaping in your heart with His amazing grace.

Signs You’re In Trouble

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You know you are in trouble when you are only giving lip service.
When you smile with your mouth but not your eyes.
When you begin to say the words but there are no feelings attached anymore.
That which begins as a great love story ends with years of apathy hidden by duty, commitment and stalwart phrases of those good old days.
We assume that this means that it is over.
The hope of lasting love slips into the daily drudgery of life.
And yet….
It is not over.
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.”
Isaiah 29:13 NIV
In a relationship, lip service does no one any good. Not in your relationship with Jesus, yourself or anyone else.
It is better, to be honest with what is going on in your heart.
That is the only way any relationship thrives.
Jesus came for your heart and that is where love grows.
Bring Him your heart today.
Let Jesus restore to you that which you thought was lost.
Give it another try.

Clean Your Connection Point

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One day when my son was about 11 years old, he came into our bedroom with his shoulders slumped and said, “The charger is broken- it won’t charge the laptop and it just died”,

My husband went out to the living room and brought the laptop into our bedroom. He checked all the connections on the cord to see if it had been broken from the outside. It looked fine, so he assumed that it must be broken on the inside where we couldn’t see it.

I leaned over and said, “So what is the problem?”

“I don’t know,” he replied, “but it is not working.”

“Great”, I humphed.

A few minutes later, I noticed that he had put the laptop down and didn’t seem too worried about it.

“Did you fix it?” I asked.

“Oh, yea I did”, he said. “The connection just needed to be cleaned. It was just dirty. After I cleaned it, it connected just fine and now it is charging.”

That was it. It was that simple.

On our way to church this weekend, Justin’s phone wouldn’t charge…for the same reason. After Bobby cleaned it out, it worked fine.

Your connection point to God is your heart.

It is the place where the power of God fills you and the grace of God heals you.  It gets dirty from the wear and tear of life, clogged from bits of small lies believed or big judgments perceived.

It needs to be cleaned often.

Forgiveness asked for and given.

Mercy asked for and given.

Tough love asked for and given.

When life seems like it’s just not working right, check your connection point to God and ask Him to clean it.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It is amazing what a difference it makes when your heart is clear and your connection with God is restored to full power. 


How is your heart?

Tender Hearted

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“A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life; a hardhearted person lives a hard life.”
‭‭Proverbs  ‭28:14‬ ‭MSG‬‬

You were created to be tenderhearted, to feel life.

To feel the good, the bad, the joy, the sorrow and all the moments in-between.

It seems easier to let your heart go hard when the hurt gets overwhelming and when the betrayal stings.

Don’t do it.

Don’t succumb to the temptation to become brittle and bitter.

Don’t stay stuck there, dwelling on what happened or what should have happened. Don’t let that shape your future.

Fight for a tender heart.

It means that you have to feel the pain and process it. It means you have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with God, not without Him.

It means that you grieve what you have lost all the way through to acceptance so you can live after it.

Stay tender-hearted, my friend.

Don’t let life (or other people’s choices) rob you from living in full color.

Your future will thank you for it.

Jesus died for you to live in it.

God will walk with you all the way through it.

Lord give me thick skin and a tender heart. 

A Quiet Heart

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“In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Living in a loud world requires cultivating a quiet heart and it is more like cultivating a garden than completing a to-do list.

It needs loving care and tending.

It needs to be protected from predators and weeds must be pulled.

New things NEED to be planted, old things NEED to be pruned.

Just as an untended garden grows wild and will produce good things as well as life-threatening weeds, it is the same with your heart.

However, you are not the gardener of your heart, God is. You are the soil.

As you invite Jesus in, He waters your soul. As you spend time with Him, the Holy Spirit pulls weeds. As you trust the Father, He plants seeds of faith.

It is a partnership but one that is different than you are used to.

Your most important job is to give God time, opportunity and full access to do His work in your heart.

A quiet, secure heart is of great value to those closest to you as well as the loud, insecure world around you.

Shut the world out and invite Jesus in today to landscape your heart with his amazing grace.

Tested

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The Lord tests the heart of His child not so He can discover what is in it but so you can.
The crucible is a vessel that can take extreme heat and not melt. It is used to melt the silver so that the impurities of the precious metal will rise to the top. Then the refiner will skim it off the top.
It is the same with your heart. The great Refiner will use the hot fires of life to cause the impurities in your heart to be revealed- so you can see them and so He can clear them.
He will bring to the surface the things that are holding you back from loving freely, what is tripping you up in your relationships, what is sabotaging your peace. Things that don’t belong there but have never been processed out.
Don’t be alarmed when Jesus brings uncomfortable and unsightly things to the surface. It is His work and His way to answer the prayer you prayed.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
He creates a pure heart, a clean heart, by bringing up what doesn’t belong there.
Your job is to stay in His Hand, deal with what comes up (which almost always begins with repentance or forgiveness) and allow the healing balm of His love to make you new.
How is your heart? 
What is Jesus bringing up? 
What do you need to do with it?

God Is Always At Work

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In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (‭John‬ ‭5‬:‭17‬ NIV)

God is always at his work.

You may not see it, understand it or even discern it but he is working.

What is God’s work?

Redemption.
Restoration.
Recreation.

God is at work in your life.

Redeeming that which has been lost.

Restoring that which has stolen.

Recreating that which has destroyed.

He does not take a holiday, he does not need to take a vacation. He IS working.

Earlier in this chapter, Jesus asked the
crippled man by the pool “Do you want to be made well?” It seems like a rhetorical question, right?

A Bible commentator named David
Guzik says this,

“His question may seem rhetorical, but Jesus knew that not every sick person wants to be healed, and that some are so discouraged that they put away all hope. Jesus is dealing with a man who may have his heart withered as well as his legs.”

God wants to restore hope to your heart as well as healing to your life.

Can you begin to hope again in that part if your life that you have given up on? Can you believe that God can restore it?

Yes. Yes.

You may have given up but
God has not.
He is always at work.